Canada Should Be Spending 3% Of GDP On National Defence

The 2% target is the bare minimum, and we should have hit it years ago. Now, it’s not even close to enough.

Many Canadians are focused on the U.S. election, and with good reason. As our strongest ally and largest trading partner by far, what happens in the United States impacts our nation.

With U.S. foreign policy likely to continue shifting in the long term no matter the outcome (with elements of the U.S. left increasingly anti-military and anti-Israel, and elements of the U.S. right increasingly anti-NATO and pro-isolationist), there is concern across the political spectrum about what this means for our nation.

However, this concern is not something we can do much about.

We can’t control what happens in the United States, and worrying about it endlessly serves only to rob us of the energy that could be better directed toward strengthening our own country.

Our focus should be on building national resiliency, and ensuring that we pull our weight in our alliances, which will make us more respected regardless of who is sworn in as the U.S. President in January of 2025.

After all, a key reason why the U.S. left is increasingly skeptical of military spending and the U.S. right is skeptical about NATO is the fact that the U.S. bears a disproportionate burden in that alliance.

Even though Europe has a GDP about equal to the United States, the U.S. vastly outstrips Europe in military spending.

And that’s not because U.S. spending is that high. As much as people look at the raw number – over $800 billion – that is on the low side of U.S. military spending as a percentage of GDP when compared to much of the 20th century.

Rather, it’s the understanding of Europe that really stands out.

Of course, things are even worse here in Canada.

Canada has a GDP of about 2.1 trillion when measured in US Dollars. Russia’s GDP is about 2.2 trillion when measured in US Dollars.

When it comes to military spending, Russia has some advantages, given the scale of their domestic production, but as their increasing use of ancient equipment in their illegal invasion of Ukraine demonstrates, their military production has significant limits.

What this means is that Canada – and Canada alone – should be able to make a massive contribution to the NATO alliance and to help contain Russia and China.

Imagine if Canada was mass-producing long-range military drones.

Imagine if we became a large-scale hypersonic missile producer.

Imagine if we became one of the world’s largest artillery producers.

We have an economy big enough to make that happen.

We also have a well-educated population and massive reserves of natural resources.

All that is lacking is the seriousness and the will.

2% isn’t enough

At this point, with the probability of a wider war rising as Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea sense weakness from a divided West drowning in foreign propaganda, we must realize that spending just 2% of our GDP on the military isn’t enough.

That was a decent bare minimum in a more peaceful world.

But now, we must go further.

3% should be the target because we need to take action to enhance our defences in the short and long-term.

We need to simultaneously purchase vast quantities of military equipment, increase military pay to boost recruitment and invest in building domestic military production capacity.

2% would be enough to accomplish either the short-term, or the long-term side of things, but right now we need both.

And so, instead of worrying about something we can’t control – the U.S. election – let’s focus on what we can control: Showing we are serious about defending our nation and supporting our allies by significantly ramping up our military budget.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – YouTube


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